Female Professionals The Greatest Female Novelists Ever  

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List Rules Only women authors. Please rank only based on their fiction novels, not on short stories or non-fiction work.

The best female novelists are arguably the top and most talented women who penned some of the most popular and most influential novels of all time. These women, from around the globe over the last few centuries, changed the landscape of fiction writing with their work. These ladies are not just the best female novelists ever, but easily among the best writers of all time.

These female novelists represent many genres of literature such as romance, science fiction, fantasy, adventure and mystery, to name a few. Their works have inspired countless others and spurred numerous movie adaptations. Quite simply, these women are some of the best female authors to have ever lifted the pen.

From the classics from Agatha Christie and Jane Austen to the modern favorites from Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, it’s hard to find a book from a female novelist on this list that isn’t a favorite of millions of readers around the world.

Which of these female novelists is the best? Share your picks by voting for your favorites, adding any not listed or re-ranking this list of the best female novelists below!
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list ordered by

1
187 80
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

2
109 36
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

3
145 51
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Shirley

4
115 50
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own

5
178 73
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders

6
205 112
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Casual Vacancy

7
162 75
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
To Kill a Mockingbird

8
104 45
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, The Blind Assassin

9
70 31
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
A Simple Twist of Fate, RoThe Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch
The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, Silas Marner, Adam Bede, Brother Jacob, The Lifted Veil

10
107 46
Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys

11
111 34
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Wuthering Heights, Gondal poems, Poems by Currer
Wuthering Heights

12
73 39
Madeleine L'Engle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
AdmiralCrunch added A Wrinkle in Time, A Ring of Endless Light, A Wind in the Door
A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

13
72 32
Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
AdmiralCrunch added Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth
Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence

14
72 29
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

15
87 42
Beatrix Potter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Jemimi Puddle-Duck, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny

16
60 37
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
A Wizard of Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed

17
57 28
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, Everything That Rises Must Converge

18
73 39
Laura Ingalls Wilder is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie

19
64 49
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon

20
27 15
Dorothy Parker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
GregerNordstrom added Saboteur, A Star Is Born, A Star Is Born

21
43 26
Anne Brontë is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Agnes Grey, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

22
48 31
Lucy Maud Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
looksharp added Anne of Green Gables, The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set, Emily Climbs

23
27 11
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Mollevangsvagen added The Talented Mr. Ripley, The American Friend, Strangers on a Train

24
32 22
Judy Blume is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

25
44 29
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
AdmiralCrunch added Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, My Ántonia
My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop